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I have just finished “Beginning Silverlight 4 in C#” book written by Robert Lair from Apress and I would like to share my humble opinion about it.

Really and simply, it is a great book to grasp many concepts about Silverlight 4 in a just 400 papers. For me, I have finished the book in four days (3-5 hours / day) and of course there are some reasons for that, a couple of them are:

  1. I am not so beginner in this technology as I have used WPF before so I didn’t need any time to grasp multiple concepts quickly.
  2. I need to finish this book as quickly as possible to wrap most of the features and abilities of the new version of Silverlight. In fact my team is going to develop a business application using Silverlight and I was in real need to see the full picture of this technology.

Enough talking about myself, let’s talk about the book.

This book talks about:

  • Why we need Silverlight and how it fits in the RIAs? Really a good and brief introduction gives the reader why he is gonna read about such a new technology.
  • VS 2010 new features and how it supports Silverlight 4 and what you need to get started. BTW, there are some posts here in my blog about the new features of VS 2010 you can find it in “Cutting Edge” column.
  • Layout management in Silverlight. It mentioned some of layout controls and how you can use it to layout your applications like the Grid, WrapPanel, DockPanel, Canvas, and StackPanel.
  • Some of Silverlight controls and some basic examples about them like TextBox, Button, TextBlock … etc.
  • List controls like DataGrid and ListBox besides data binding mechanisms which is so so powerful in the world of XAML.
  • Silverlight toolkit, and what it contains.
  • How you can get access to data in Silverlight (WCF is recommended approach), how you can use Sockets for data access and network communications.
  • Navigation framework which is so similar to master pages and content place holders in ASP.NET. Also, how you can pass data between different pages, how you can map the URIs, and How you can route the URIs to custom ones.
  • Isolated storage and how you can use it for caching purposes, saving and retrieving files … etc.
  • Accessing computer devices like web cam and microphone from a Silverlight application easily.
  • Expression blend introduction and how it fits in the world of Silverlight.
  • How you can style your application in a very similar way to CSS in HTML pages.
  • How to animate objects easily and how to use Expression Blend for this purpose with some basic and nice examples.
  • How to create custom controls, although the book didn’t mention how to create user controls. It gives a very good example for building a custom control from scratch.
  • How Printing is so easy in Silverlight. You can print the screen as it is, or you can even customize the printable data to select portions of screen or even a whole new shape.
  • Finally, it talks briefly about important concepts and ideas you will need when you need to deploy a Silverlight application. It gives an idea about assembly cashing, out-of-browser mode, and elevated trust.

Really, I am recommending this book to any one who needs really to know what is the Silverlight about and what can do.

Thank you Apress for not wasting my time ­čÖé

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